Rabaul After Twenty Years.

As PNG gears up to celebrate its 49 years of national sovereignty this September, people in East New Britain will remember the many lives, and causalities lost in the 1994 Rabaul volcano eruption. 

It will be two decades since both Mount Tarvurvur and Matupit erupted almost simultaneously, but many still remember it as if, it was just yesterday. The eruption comes 57 years after the first volcanic eruption in 1937.  


The once beautiful Rabaul town was permanently destroyed, and even to date, remains of the eruption are still visible.


It was on the morning of September 1994, just two days after independence, when the volcanoes erupted. This disrupted the power, and contaminated the water supply.


Rabaul was immediately declared a code red State of Emergency. Almost everything was destroyed, from business houses to residential areas, and government services like health and education, were interrupted.


The volcanic ash measured up to five meters high, covered the road leading into the town.


Now, 20 years after, the province is experiencing an increase in its cash flow. Most of the business houses, government departments, and education institutions, have relocated to Kokopo. 


Despite the devastating eruption, and the many traumas, ENB is now one of the most developed provinces in PNG. The standard of living here is very high.


Traditional houses and pit toilets, is a rare sight. Most of the villages along the highway from Kokopo to Rabaul, or Kerevet to Rabaul, have permanent houses, with water and power supply.

It has an outstanding road network which links all the villagers to the main highway. And unlike nation’s capital, people here are very responsible of their own rubbish.

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